Frequently Asked Questions


What is Grokbase?

Grokbase is a mailing list archive designed to present the knowledge in mailing lists in an easy to use web interface. It was created to faciliate learning about new technologies and subjects by reading past discussions, specfically by building a browsing interface condusive to exploration while also supporting search.

How do I archive a mailing list?

We are prioritizing mailing lists to add to the service. To request a specific list or group of lists, please email to info@grokbase.com.

What are the system requirements?

Grokbase is designed to work with minimal system requirements. Browsing and saerching of the site should work on many computers and browsers. However, some capabilities such as browsing preferences require JavaScript. If you have JavaScript enabled, be sure to try them out.


What are browsing preferences and how do I use them?

Browsing preferences are dynamic controls that appear in the upper right sidebar of the group summary and discussion pages. They offer default settings to be used when a page is browsed. Clicking the current setting will toggle the setting to the alternate configuration. The settings are stored in cookies on your system so there is no need to log in to the site or create a profile. The settings will be automatically applied when the next page is opened.


How do I search?

Grokbase utilizes Google's search engine for search capabilities. The URL structure for Grokbase follows a group domain name, list name, year, month pattern. It is possible to search specific organizations and groups using the 'site:' feature. For example, for catalyst messages, you can search 'site:grokbase.com/t/lists.scsys.co.uk/catalyst'. A fuller syntax reference is available at Google.

How far back do the date indexes go?

The date indexes go back for the full life of the archive on a per month basis. For each month, the threads are sorted by popularity, post time, and latest activity.


How can I respond to a post?

After each message is a 'reply' link. If your system is configured to send email from your browser, clicking the reply link should open your email client with the following information populated: email address of list, message-id of message you are replying to, and subject of the message you are replying to. Pleaase note, you may need to be a pre-existing member of the mailing list to email the list.

What if I click the reply link and nothing happens?

While some browsers will automatically connect you to your mail client when you click the reply link, others may need to be configured first. It appears that Firefox now requires pre-configuration before it will process and hand off a mailto link.

User Profiles

How is the information in a user profile compiled?

User profiles are created from public information available from the mailing lists themselves and public services such as Gravatar for user icons. Statistics such as message counts and groups are compiled by indexing user information for individual posts.

What are Grokbase badges and how do I earn them?

Badges are an indication of both subject matter expertise and community participation. Badges are avaiable for a number of subjects listed on the Badges page at the gold, silver and bronze levels. At present, badges are awarded based on the number of posts a user has made to mailing lists associated with each subject.

How can I request a new badge be created?

Send an email to info@grokbase.com to request a new badge be created.

How are the avatar icons assigned per person?

Grokbase uses Gravatar for user icons. Gravatar provides a service to provide globally available avatars based on user email addresses. Users can setup their own avatar on Gravatar and have it automatically appear on Grokbase. If a user has not set up an avatar, Grokbase requests Gravatar substitute an Identicon based on the user's email address, an approach created by Don Park.

What are Grokbase agents and why are they classified differently?

Grokbase agents are typically automated users that email mailing lists. Typically, these users are dedicated accounts designed to email commit or ticket lists and do not contribute to discussions. They are separated because it makes sense to list actual discussions separately from automated posts; however, they have their own user lists and badges because it is often interesting to see who is generating activity on these lists.


How are Events promoted?

Grokbase promotes events by displaying upcoming events on relevant topic and group pages as well as posting them to the events list. To add an event, please use the contact us information below.


How is Grokbase built?

Grokbase is coded in Perl with Moose, PHP, JavaScript with jQuery and HTML5 with FontAwesome; served by Apache and FastCGI; and run on Red Hat and Ubuntu. A number of solutions are used to manage data including PostgreSQL, Percona and Xapian. Some administration and testing tools are written in Python and Ruby; however, most tools are also in Perl.

Is Grokbase Open Source?

Grokbase is mostly closed source; however some libraries have been open sourced. Contributions have been made to a number of projects including Courriel and Robohash.


How can I contact Grokbase?

Please contact us at info@grokbase.com.